GVC’s Alexander urges industry to tackle “out of hand” betting ads

8 October 2018

GVC Holdings chief executive Kenny Alexander has called for a pre-watershed ban on betting adverts in the UK amid mounting pressure from regulators for operators to change their approach to marketing.

Alexander (pictured) has suggested a ban on all television ads before 9pm, saying the amount of adverts during televised football games has got “out of hand” while calling for the industry to work “collaboratively” to enact change.

The UK Gambling Commission in August set out its new rules over advertising, pledging to take “tougher action” against operators that breach regulations, while the Advertising Standards Authority has handed out a series of fines in recent months as part of a clampdown on betting ads.

Ian Angus, programme director for consumer protection and empowerment, also recently said “consumer trust in gambling is at an all-time low”, citing the results of a recent survey where two thirds of consumers said betting ads “should be discouraged”.

However, Alexander’s comments represent the most high profile comments from a senior executive at a major gambling company and could open the door to collaborative action.

Alexander told City A.M: “Most people in the gambling industry think there are far too many ads. We should make the changes collaboratively with the rest of the industry, which might be difficult, and ultimately it’s up to the government to decide if they want to legislate or not.

“Particularly around the watershed, the most vulnerable to gambling are the younger generation. Those who can gamble as well as those who can’t at the moment but will be able to in a year or two.”

Alexander also said that if companies could work together on the issue with a joint goal of lowering the amount of ads, then changes could take place “by the end of the year”.

He said: “It could affect business but if there’s a level playing field then it will affect everybody in the same way.”